As a bike tourist, commuter, enthusiast and later advocate over the decade(s), the combination of a solar panel on the back bike trailer or panniers, and a dynohub generator on the front wheel(s) sounds like an optimal synergy...
Bicycles are also the main transportation option for poor, in many countries, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th world...
It is good for the environment, and health of kids and adults, given safe riding practices and well designed roads, or even off road with mountain bikes...
Power generation options are not available with G1G1 program, though the XO machine is low power in design and spawned the netbook generation.
The XO's screen that works in direct sunlight is optimal for outdoor applications and considering how to fasten to the front of the bike (bar ends suggested) for a computer controlled next generation MicroShip.com Winnabiko type Linnabiko to be called XOBikePowered?...
Applying to Contributor Program
User:DancesWithCars will be applying with this idea to the Contributor program (and possibly elsewhere like dynohub, solar panel and component manufacturers) for hardware and support.
Most people would not want someone taking apart a loaner XO machine, and the power experiments could fry stuff, so probably left over or broken parts, able to test what happens. The power output on the dynohub may be unsteady depending on speed and wide ranging. Taking an XO on a bike is somewhat hazardous for testing, as like a cell phone, can't be distracted in traffic, etc... It would however be a good testing environment to try daily in different situations.
Comparison to Bike Computers
Your average bike computer (mileage, speed, etc) without GPS features is in the $20+ range and when I was a kid we didn't know how far we had gone, and frequently tried to race cars, against each other*rarely but it could happen), etc...
Teaching Math to Kids (and Adults)
May be a good way of teaching some mathematics to kids (and relearning myself). What is it like to move at 10 miles / hour (converting to km, etc).. How about 20 mph? How about down a hill at 30 mph?
How many calories is it to charge an XO battery?
If a laptop battery charges in 3 hours on wall current, How long would it take with the sun at x mA?
Thinking of this as an OpenBikeComputer subproject might be a good look into electronics too.
Bike odometers, meters and the measure activity are relatively simple by comparison to a general purpose computer, but how does it work???
If I put a magnet on spokes and checked the voltage generated, how would that be as input to Measure? Calibrating it on known distances and speeds, comparing etc, would be good test data for planning.
Radio$hack has a solar kit for young people. There are UV meters to sample the sun in the local environment. Use those as starting places to explain the project and [re]learn basics of circuitry and electronics math.
Heathkit used to be a place to buy components and assemble components and systems. By putting together with support, one learned at least some electronics tech skills. The age range was around 10 years old and above? It is my hope that this project will be able to provide instructions for making this, open design specs and interested people provide suggestions for improvements and feedback on it's applicability and use.
As an engineering student, learned some basics decades ago, but was better at theoretical computer science, and an emerging disability, so never fully developed a hardware practice. This would be a personal completeness project and test as a way of relearning/ catching up on electronics tech, while giving something back too.
A community like HackerSpaces would help, and researching other supports (online lists, etc) while developing this idea. PovertyProject (a developing idea of modifying one HackerSpace social system for accommodating poor, and disabled such as myself), was not well received in one local community, in fact deleted without notice as inappropriate, instead of moved, renamed and/or explicitly collaboratively commented upon, so will have to see what social norms, and mores are amongst different types of communities... It is likely I'm an outcast in most social systems for many reasons, poverty, disability, personality, etc, but will have to see...
Some methodology of design learning would help. Currently brainstorming and logging the ideas up here and elsewhere until fully formed. In research, first to publish is common, so putting up the idea at least stakes a claim publicly to the idea. Scientific notebooks were used to log the results of experiments over time and in case any issues come up for patent or whatever, at least in that industry.
Planning ahead to milestones and target goals would be good for younger people as well as myself.
Asking for mentor help to formalize the application, i.e. ask for filing assistance too...
XO Design Benefits
The XO's low power design of 2 Watts is not a lot for a laptop usually in the 10 Watt range, but will see if can generate that biking and with occasional solar assist...
Mesh networking could be used as a CB radio when stopped, lost, etc. Team riding and communications would help...
WarBiking (like wardriving, i.e. looking for wireless signals along the way) would help in touring. Logging specific and general patterns for finding open connections to the internet for safety and reducing isolation during touring.
XO is a kid rugged machine so withstands some things regular PCs are not designed for. It's relatively hard case and low cost is good.
It is an instant attention getter when in use, so also promotes the overall OLPC/ XO project throughout all the areas biked during design, testing and production use.
Types of Donations
Donations of hardware, broken would be accepted, as may be able to kludge together the remaining components and learn some hardware by exemplars in the process.
Future XO Versions
Power and form factors for the 1.5 machine is said to stay the same.
Gen 2.0 machines are likely to be different, so would like at least one of those to convert/ test compatibility/ develop in new environment.
Sun Light and Other Limitations/ Issues
Given the occasional/ usual lack of sun in this part if the NorthEast / MidAtlantic USA and necessary power requirements while bike touring (sometimes stopped at a paid camp site just for the power (and showering)), instead of a national parks like C&O Canal Hiker/Biker camp sites...
Batteries are heavy
Weight to power ratio to consider
12V Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) motorcycle / wheelchair/ lawnmower/RV/... battery? +Same Voltage as the car adapter? (so compatible with chargers/ generators/ accessories, connections, etc) Amperage? Capacity? measured in AmpHours? informally, as cold cranking power?
Try recharging with solar panel(s) and dynohub(s)/ generic generators?
Add options to charge standard batteries as well, likes packs of NiMH AA/AAA or other size standard cells?
Direct to devices like USB standards, NiteRider Minewt USB Plus, GPS, cameras, arduino, etc?
Direct to bike running lights? Store excess? And Even out speed power variations with Capacitors Ans/Or charge later?
Power management necessary...
DynoHubs / Generators Options
6 Volt usually used to run lights, old school ones ran off rubbing against the tire, but might slip, abrasive, etc built into the hub makes more sense, but costlier...
So 2x generators, to get near 12 volts or some power conversions? Plus solar to get to 14 volt range? What is safe range? What is optimal range?
What speed and power is required to use them? How reliable? How expensive? Compatibility with wheel / brake systems and building custom wheels for a different, non stock hub?
Leading wires from the hub/ fork to somewhere?
Try on trailer first? Build into touring option?
Check electric bike options too, most don't charge well enough but some have motors/ generators combined?
XO information on power, so collecting some resources
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/XO_Power_Draw Summary: describes charging a regular XO battery and power consumption at 6 Watts normally (thought 2??) and how to reduce it without wifi -1 Watt, Without Screen running -1 Watt, etc...
so maybe adjusting usage based on speed and sunlight, and start learning/ estimating/ calculating charging time, etc... for real world biking usage...
Other mre research and background / backstory generator/ dyno links found on this site
XOExplosion.com Solar Panels
XOExplosion.com has pre built Solar Panels for sale at ~$60 and ~$100 for 5 Watt and 10 Watt hard panels of different sizes.
Here are links to the products.
'Note:' website mentions backorder and 6-8 weeks wait possible...
Making Waterproof/ Resistant
Electronics generally don't want to get wet, as they usually stop being fun after that... Looking for a food storage box to put electronics in. Maybe a hard military surplus ammo type case? If trailer goes/ rolls over, then not likely to break (might bend and short?), but high metal weight (though batteries are heavy too) vs. plastics and conductive, so must line it with insulation somehow?...
Some people have suggested plastic bags for an xo on handlebars, and definitely a backup and usual camping/ touring option, and I've looked into cereal box storage container options (similar but not close enough square, more personal pizza box), and some other stuff. Some HackerSpace people were kind enough to have a nice discussion on the matter on their boards/ lists...